Backstage Update On Shaquille O'Neal's AEW Status

Have AEW fans seen the last of Shaq after last week's Dynamite debut?

Shaquille O'Neal Jade Cargill

Shaquille O'Neal wants to return to All Elite Wrestling at some point.

This is according to Dave Meltzer, who reports as much in this week's Wrestling Observer Newsletter, noting that the NBA legend disappearing from an ambulance after being loaded into it following his debut match was Shaq's own idea.

The 49-year-old apparently did this to show that even though he was knocked down in the match, he was still able to get out of the vehicle. Selling for longer may have been an issue as he had NBA All-Star Game coverage that weekend and needed to mount a believable recovery for that.


AEW provided no updates on O'Neal's condition after Tony Schiavone had found he'd gone missing from the ambulance.

Shaq's debut match was a roaring success for AEW. As well as drawing swathes of subjective acclaim, it helped Dynamite pop a nice overall viewership of 934,000 on the night, with the quarter-hour featuring the bout pulling in 1.113 million. O'Neal participated in the most memorable spot, as Cody Rhodes leapt over the top rope to spear him through two tables on the outside.


Jade Cargill and Shaq were victorious over Rhodes and Red Velvet, with Jade pinning Velvet.

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Andy has been with WhatCulture for six years and is currently WhatCulture's Senior Wrestling Reporter. A writer, presenter, and editor with 10+ years of experience in online media, he has been a sponge for all wrestling knowledge since playing an old Royal Rumble 1992 VHS to ruin in his childhood. Having previously worked for Bleacher Report, Andy specialises in short and long-form writing, video presenting, voiceover acting, and editing, all characterised by expert wrestling knowledge and commentary. Andy is as much a fan of 1985 Jim Crockett Promotions as he is present-day AEW and WWE - just don't make him choose between the two.